Whether your employees are working from home because of a direct result of the growing pandemic or you’re warming up to the idea as the statistics prove remote work is on the rise, you need a strategy that works for everyone.
Commonly, the challenges you face with a remote team differs greatly than with a traditional 9-to-5 team. For example, communication channels often get crossed or are lacking which only leads to confusion, lack of cohesion between team members, low engagement levels, a crumbling company culture, no set schedules, and so on.
Acknowledge that you are up against challenges you may not have experienced before and change how you operate so that your entire team can work productively. If you’re not sure where to start, begin by being able to answer and understand the questions we outline below.
We look at the eight most pressing questions about remote work and answer them below.
1. How Do I Ensure Employees are Ready to Work from Home?
Make sure the infrastructure is in place. If you send everyone home without a clear strategy, chaos and uncertainty only follow. Have a game plan for the following:
- Does your team have the necessary technology or access to it?
- Which employees have a company laptop? For those with a company laptop, do they have all the software and tools needed to work?
- For employees without a company laptop or even a smartphone, how can you be sure they have access to all the necessary resources to do their job?
Your managers need to efficiently and quickly ensure that every single team member has direct and full access so that no one feels left behind.
This is where an employee management app is golden.
Connecteam’s free employee management app allows you to take control: keep 100% of your team informed in real-time, distribute crucial information and protocols, stay up to date with instant reports, and more.
In just a tap, you can send real-time updates and push notifications like a breaking announcement, a message from the CEO, positive reviews, birthday shoutouts, or an operational update. Introduce protocol libraries and guidelines while overseeing execution with “read and sign” reports. Introduce dedicated reporting channels and automate the information flow and finally, share resources and train your team with Connecteam’s dedicated templates and media capabilities to share videos, text, files, and images.
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With Connecteam, you have multiple ways to communicate and engage with your remote employees. From group chat or private chat to feedback surveys to live polls to sharing files to a suggestion box and more. Take communication to the next level with Connecteam’s communication tool.
2. How do I Ensure Employees Adjust to Working from Home?
First, talk with your employees on a regular basis so you can make sure they have everything they need. Let them tell you what they need from you to successfully work from home without too many bumps in the road.
Second, offer your team some advice! They might not know where to start so they’ll look to you for guidance.
- Develop a ritual that works for you
- Have a set time for when you work and when you don’t
- Take a shower to wake up or go for a run
- Stretch every hour and move around
- Dress up a bit, don’t stay in your pajamas all-day
- Have your own work station, don’t just work in bed or on the couch
- Don’t procrastinate or waste time on social media
- Create a to-do list
- Make your lunch the night before
3. How Often Should I, as a Manager, Check-in with My Employees?
Start with a daily chat with the entire team so that everyone is aligned on what each team member is working on and to raise questions. Use solutions like Zoom or Skype to video chat and solutions like Connecteam or Slack or message in real-time. Find what works best for you.
Change the frequency of the check-ins as needed, but remember that more is better than less.
And don’t just check in on work-related matters. Have a virtual happy hour or a coffee break together. All this keeps the team connected!
4. How Do I Keep Everyone Engaged?
Don’t skip the watercooler talk. In the last point, we highlighted holding a virtual happy hour or lunch break, but don’t forget to reach out to each individual team member. This helps them feel connected and less isolated.
When your team isn’t following the traditional 9-to-5 workday, use chit chat to your advantage. This will show everyone that you value socialization and human interaction way more than the bottom line.
A virtual “watercooler” creates a fun space for your team to engage with one another. Encourage your employees to chat like they’re in a regular office environment – from life updates, movies or TV shows, interesting news, and anything in-between.
Additionally, we recommend you engage in team-building activities to further build relationships.
5. Will Productivity Go Down?
Productivity shouldn’t go down at all. It can easily be maintained and even strengthened because those pesky office distractions are gone. And your team isn’t stressed with their morning commute.
Even if you’re working at home with your kids or partner, that can all be worked out to your advantage. For example, talk to your boss and create a game plan with your partner that works best for everyone.
Managers should not let problems spiral out of control either, tackle issues head-on so that productivity isn’t affected.
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6. How Do I Ensure Boundaries Aren’t Crossed?
As we hinted above, some of your employees might have kids at home because they’re not well or daycare isn’t an option right now. If that’s the case, you need to work out a solution that works for both parties.
We recommend that you allow for more flexibility in their schedule. For example, your employee doesn’t have to start work at 9 AM sharp or eat lunch at 12:30. Instead, allow your employees to be more fluid with their schedule and you need to trust that they’re doing their very best to get the job done.
In fact, we recommend that policy for your entire team and not just the parents.
7. How Do I Help my Employees with the Challenges They’re Facing?
Be sure to ask your employees if they’re facing any challenges so that you can find out if something isn’t working and how they’re getting on.
Allow your team to share big and small wins so that you have an opportunity to recognize all their hard work. Saying thanks and giving them a personal shoutout can go a long way to boosting engagement.
8. Is My Employee’s Job Role Clear Enough?
Make sure your employee is clear on their job role otherwise they are working off the assumption that what they’re doing is correct. The last thing you want is to slow down an employee’s development or cause confusion. Check-in with your employees regularly by asking if their job role is clear enough and help them define what success looks like so that they can continually strive for it.
Don’t hesitate to encourage both their professional and personal development. This type of experience leads to more commitment from your employees because they see that you care more and aren’t only focused on the paycheck.
Summing Up Questions On Remote Work
Communicate often with your team, it may be an odd situation for them as well if they’re not used to working from home. When you find a process that works well then stick with it and build on it to ensure productivity doesn’t suffer and employees are engaged and happy.
Connecteam: one app to manage your remote employees & business
Connecteam is your tool to manage employee engagement, development, and relationship. You can streamline communication, give your employees a platform to be heard, boost engagement, strengthen the company culture, align employees with company policies, streamline daily operations, build professional skills and so much more.Learn more